Good evening, everyone. Tonight, I would like to discuss something, which I am almost positive that few people consider when it comes to bullying: How the torment of a particular classmate can become status quo or habit with classmates if it’s not properly taken care of in the early stages.
Bullying of a certain individual is like a cancer that grows and spreads. A bully scans the environment, seeking whom he can torment. When he/she spots his/her possible victim, he/she tests the waters by way of small snarky comments, backhanded compliments or anything which may cause the victim to feel uncomfortable. The bully does this to see how the other person will react. If the individual on the receiving does nothing to assert their right not to be mistreated, the bully sees this as a green light for future bullying. Therefore, this individual has now become a target!
Word soon gets around the entire school that this target is ripe for bullying and others will join in. As time goes by, the torment becomes more of a regular, everyday occurrence. More and more classmates will bully the target and the taunts and/or physical attacks become more and more brutal. The attacks then become harder to combat, thus it becomes more difficult for the victim to either get help or protect his/herself.
The bullying of this victim has now become the status quo with the student body and school. Others refuse to help the target either due to rumors and lies to discredit her, or the widespread belief that, “Well, no one likes her anyway, so there has to be some justification to it.”. The power dynamic has now been firmly put in place and the status quo is maintained.
Finally, the victim feels trapped and either constantly lives in misery and fear for their own safety and/or commits suicide.
If the bullying of a certain student is allowed to continue over a certain amount of time, even for as short as a few weeks, it will likely become the status quo with his/her peers at school. Once it becomes the status quo, it’s virtually impossible to assert your rights without encountering a ton of resistance and reprisals.
The trick is to assert yourself immediately before the bully or bullies grow(s) accustomed to tormenting you because once they do, in most cases, it’s too late. Once it is too late, anytime you are brave and refuse to bow down to a bully, expect retaliation…expect to be severely punished for undermining the bully’s perceived authority or power over you.
This is a warning that you absolutely must heed. Anytime, one certain student is repeatedly bullied over a certain period of time, it becomes a habit…a ritual for any and every one at the school. Anytime you muster up the spunk to say and/or do anything to assert, defend, or stand up for yourself, you are going against a status quo or perceived norm. And once you dare to go against any status quo, you had better prepare yourself for an all-out war!
You are a target! And bullies refuse to see you as anything but. As much as it may suck, when a person becomes a target of bullying, people- bullies, bystanders, and yes; sometimes even teachers and staff, consciously or subconsciously expect the person to stay a target. They expect you to put your head down and take it…to just accept it and if you even attempt to grow a spine, they will do everything in their power to break it.
Anytime a person, who has been a target of bullies over a long period of time, takes steps to take back their power, the unspoken message of the bully is this:
“No! Wait a minute! You’ve been a lowlife loser all this time and NOW you decide to better yourself?” or “Whoa! You’ve been a doormat this long, so why NOW do you get uppity and decide to grow some sack?”
…all of which translates to an even deeper message that says:
“Holy Crap! We’re not used to him/her being so outspoken! This scares us! We’ve tried A, now we have to do B and if B doesn’t work, then we will have to resort to C to put this person back in his/her place and do it quick before we lose our foothold on her and therefore, lose the benefits that we have enjoyed at her expense!”
This is because bullies are extremely frightened by change, especially a change in the power dynamic which has long been set. They and others want you to stay a victim because “it’s just the way things are done at this school.”. Also, bullies are benefiting from your victimization and they do not want to lose those benefits (social status, gratification, satisfaction, etc.)
Your bullies’ degradation of you has become habit…a ritual…a tradition, so to speak. And your defending your right to be safe from harm poses the threat of change and most people cannot easily accept change, bullies especially.
Furthermore, bullies believe that it is their right to abuse their target. Yes! They honestly believe that they have a right to mistreat the person because they assume that they have absolute authority over their victim and that they are entitled to inflict misery on him/her. In the mind of a bully, you as the target do not have the right to undermine, nor question their perceived authority over you. Others believe that you deserve the ill treatment and that you owe it to them to put your head down and “just shut up and take it”.
If this does not tick you off enough to make you want to snatch your power back, I do not know what will. But before you can do so, you must have knowledge of the inner workings of these types of individuals. You must be wise to what it is that makes this type of person tick. It’s imperative that you get abreast on the psychology of the typical school bully, his/her background, motives, how and why the bully seems to escape accountability, and a host of other important and possibly life-saving information.
You absolutely MUST address it early on, as soon as you begin to see a pattern forming. Do not make the same mistake I did and let it get so bad that you either fear for, or want to end your own life.
How I wish I knew this back then!